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What exactly is Supervised Visitation?

Young man with child jumping to

     The public policy of the state of California is to protect the best interest of children whose parents have a custody or visitation matter in family court. Sometimes, based on issues of protection and safety, a judge will order that a child only have contact with a parent when a neutral third person is present during the visitation.

     This type of third-person visitation arrangement is often called “supervised visitation.”

     Read the Custody and Domestic Violence  section for information and help if you have experienced domestic violence and are dealing with custody and visitation issues.

A judge may order supervised visitation for many reasons, like:


  • To give the visiting parent a chance to address specific issues;

  • To help reintroduce a parent and a child after a long absence;

  • To help introduce a parent and a child when there has been no existing relationship between them;

  • When there is a history or allegations of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, or substance abuse;

  • When there are parenting concerns or mental illness; or

  • When there is a parental threat of abduction.


The court order will specify the time and duration of the visits. Sometimes, the court order will also specify who will provide the supervised visitation services and where the visits will take place.

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What is Supervised Exchange?

     Supervised Exchanges, sometimes referred to as "Monitored Exchanges" or "Supervised/Monitored Transfers", is supervision of the transfer of the child from one parent to the other. Supervision is limited to the exchange or transfer only with the remainder of the parent/child contact remaining unsupervised. Most frequently precautions are taken to assure that the two parents or other individuals exchanging the child do not come into contact with one another.

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